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Zoe Saldana covers the June issue of Shape magazine. I don’t know where this was shot but the photos are beautiful. The interview is decent, although mostly stuff we’ve heard from her before. One thing I did learn is that Zoe and her two sister, Mariel and Cisely, formed the production company Cinestar – what? I had no idea. They don’t discuss it in the interview but bring it up in the introduction. She also elaborated on her food philosophy. Zoe was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2012, so Shape provided a good platform for her to discuss her advocacy of clean eating for its health benefits.

With exercise, you do you: “Between travel, meetings, and shoots, schedules are rough for me. I try to work out three times a week, but I don’t believe in getting on one machine for 30 minutes. If I do a lot of cardio, it usually just means I’ll be dragging my feet for the rest of the day. And when I’m shooting, I really don’t like to be strict with my workout, since I’m already putting in 16-hour days. So I do 20-minute intervals either at the gym or at home, where I run in place for 30 seconds, then do squats, then carry a heavy medicine ball a few times in a row until I get my heart rate up.”

Control what you can, then let the rest unfold: “I can’t work out regularly, so I compensate by eating a lot healthier than I might otherwise. Once you have relatively healthy eating habits, your workout can become playing with your kids, strolling around the neighborhood, playing airplane, or just changing diapers.”

Diets don’t do squat: “I don’t believe in cheat days because I don’t believe in diets. I try not to deprive my body of anything, because the moment I have just salads and protein for a few days, I crave carbs. But when I eat everything in balance, I think less about food and more about everything else. It’s about eating to live, not living to eat.”

My food philosophy: “If my husband and I had different professions, where we didn’t need to shop in supermarkets and could live more naturally, we could eat more sustainably. I grew up partially in the Dominican Republic, and I remember what eating was like when my grandma would pick herbs from her garden and we’d get seafood that had been caught that morning. Life was very simple and much healthier. It’s not that I like to eat superlight, just superclean. I like food that is fresh. I don’t go for things that come in can—and I’m losing trust in things that come in plastic. And we’re starting to move in the direction of becoming a vegetarian family; society has a very violent, dysfunctional, and wrong relationship with how we cultivate and produce meat. So if I have to pay more to eat better, then I’ll just balance my checkbook better. For example, I’d rather get the dark chocolate with goji berries than the milk chocolate packed with saturated fat.

“Perfection” is a dinosaur: “If we could design ourselves, we’d all be perfect. But we can’t, so why be unhappy about it? I’ve never wanted different hair or my body any other shape. And I’ve never thought of a person as ugly unless they opened their mouth and their heart was full of venom.”

[From Shape]

Man, I love those dark chocolate covered goji berries. And dark chocolate covered cherries… and blueberries – it’s probably safe to say any dark chocolate covered berry suits my fancy. I also went to a happy place in my mind picturing Zoe’s grandmother picking fresh herbs and selecting her catch for the day. I swear that’s the life I should be living. I wanted to get on Zoe for her dismissing diets outright but in reading her whole interview, I think she distinguished a ‘diet’ and a temporary, lose weight quick thing. So to her, adopting an 80/20 style of eating and clean eating, etc. are rules, not diets, which she is probably right about, I just call anything I follow a diet. Most of what she says is practical, if not a little idealistic. She doesn’t deny herself anything? I’d challenge that. I do agree on her thoughts on exercise. I was told years ago if you can’t exercise regularly, try to find ways to work it into to what you are doing like park in the farthest parking spot from the door, take the stairs instead of the elevator. One person even suggested taking the groceries into the house one bag at a time.

Her last quote that we would all design ourselves to be perfect doesn’t sit right with me. Isn’t that saying there is a perfect body? If we are going to truly embrace the “love the shape you are in” philosophy, shouldn’t we stop implying that we are settling if we don’t meet what someone else deems “perfect”?

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Photo credit: Nino Munoz/Shape Magazine and WENN Photos